The need for HCP Reform: Five Points of Consensus

John Kostyack
National Wildlife Federation, 1400 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036; kostyack@nwf.org


The Clinton Administration has spent six years turning a virtually nonexistent Habita Conservation Plan program into a major Endangered Species Act initiative coverin over 11 million acres of land. The HCP program has been strongly criticized by conservationists and independent scientists as failing to provide imperiled species with needed safeguards against habitat destruction. The Clinton Administration has now released a "five-point plan" to address the need for better species safeguards in HCPs. These five areas of conservation planning-biological goals, adaptive management, monitoring, permit duration limits, and public participation- are among the top priorities of the conservation community, and the Administration is to be congratulated for highlighting them. Now tha virtually everyone involve with HCPs agrees that these are important areas for reform, it is time for the Administration to move beyond vague policy guidance and to take firm action to ensure these priorities are actually achieved. The Administration can take such action-and send an unambiguous message that it is committed to approving only those HCPs that truly conserve species- by adopting enforceable wildlife safeguards in each of the five areas.

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